With a seed capital of $10 million, Amit Ramani founded Awfis in April, last year. Now the app-based co-working firm aims to create more seats and foray into new cities. “We started with an idea to introduce a model where one should be able to book a seat, meeting room, cabin seat, fixed seat, and flexible seat from one hour to 11 months and to bring this on a technology platform,” said CEO and founder Amit Ramani.
Awfis first launched its centres in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. “Today, we have about 13 centres and about 2,600 seats in those centres. By mid-November, we would create about over 5,000 seats and will add two more cities — Hyderabad and Pune. The setup offers four options — single work desks, cabin seat, which could be 2-, 4-, or 6-seater. “There is also an option of a flexible seat and one that is fixed as per one’s preference. We also have a concept of flexi-seat which is like a Starbucks environment, so you will always get a seat, but will not be the same seat, and it changes every time. And, we also have meeting room seating arrangement, and these are available in 4-, 6-, or 8-seater configurations,” he said.
“Co-working and business centres both existed before we came into the market. So, we have taken the best of both worlds and created what we feel is the right product offering for what we call a ‘SMILE’ community — small, medium, individual, local, entrepreneurs — which includes startups, SMEs, corporates, and freelancers, among others,” Ramani added.
While there are three centres in Bengaluru, Awfis plans three more centres soon. “We have one centre coming up on Outer Ring Road, and we are looking at Whitefield too. The centre will come up by March, next year. We will have 10,000 seats in seven cities, and we would have centres within a 10-minute-drive radius in seven cities across India, by March, next year,” he added. Awfis, which enjoys 82% occupancy, will double its capacity in the next six months, and plans to again double it in 12 months from now. “About 70% of our current deals are with straight leases, 30% are in partnership with landlords in a managed aggregation model. Our goal is to have 75% managed aggregation and 25% own-leased infrastructure,” he said.
Talking about expansion, he said, “India has a big market and a tremendous amount of opportunity. Kolkata and Chennai are on our radar, and we should have centres there by March 2017. We are also looking at the next level of cities such as Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Jaipur, and Nashik.”